We’ve assembled, set up and had a couple of quick laps of the race track on the most anticipated arrival to the XC circuit this season, ahead of our full review here’s what we are in for.
Mad light, S-Works light.
10kg (including carbon water bottle cage) is very exciting for a bike you can wheel out of the bike shop, this brings it in line with the top-end Giant Anthem Advanced 0 and Scott Spark RC 900 World Cup, though half-a-kilo lighter than the Cannondale Scalpel Si HiMod Team.
How so light? No expense is spared with the S-Works model; carbon wheels, fork crowns, bars, post, saddle, cranks, shifters, brake levers… It’s superior kit and much of it from Specialized’s in-house component line, and wheels from Roval.
What’s new with the frame?
No more FSR suspension, the Horst Link has gone in favour of a one-piece rear end that relies on flex in the carbon (on aluminium Epic model also) instead to drop weight and moving parts from the bike.
The new RockShox Brain 2.0 shock is structurally very different and is mounted right off the back of the bike. Why? We’ll get into more of that in our review. For a quick video from Specialized of the brain’s brain, click here.
It’s slacker by a full 1.5 degrees in the head angle, and pair that with a fork offset of only 42mm (regular 29ers tend to be 51mm) the new Epic feels a whole lot less twitchy and nervous than previous models.
A few more modern updates include Boost hub spacing, new internal routing for the cable and brake and it’s dropper post compatible too.
After only a couple quick rides to dial in the position and suspension setup it’s safe to say a few things; it’s fast, light and begs for more. The brain in the fork sure feels firm even when dialled right back, and out the back, the transition between open and closed is a lot less apparent than earlier models with a useable tuning range via the little blue lever.
Putting the hammer down on the Epic is a wonderful experience, it’s efficiency personified, there just is no unwanted loss of energy through the suspension at all.
With a new brain damper and slacker geometry, will the new Epic widen its value to being less limited to the race track? We’re going to find out.
Of course, it’s good, it’s an S-Works.
Yes, so that’s why this Epic is going in a head to head review with a few other comparable bikes. So far we’ve confirmed the all-new Giant Anthem Advanced 0 and the Scott Spark RC 900 SL, two chart-topping race bikes that will undoubtedly be compared to by eager Australian cross country racers.
So, stay tuned for the ultimate XC race bike battle ever!